From the main-melody story to gaming experience: Is the Chinese digital game arena a potential counterpublic sphere?

Tingting Hu, Min Ouyang*, Ziwei Zhang, Cathy Yue Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article interrogates the possibility that the digital game arena plays a role as a ‘counterpublic sphere’ where alternative voices that violate the hegemonic narratives in the mainstream media culture can be expressed. Exemplified by The Invisible Guardian, a Chinese interactive role-playing game, we present the first study to bring political perspective into the Chinese digital game studies, combining narrative analysis and players’ experience to provide a comprehensive understanding of political engagement in China’s digital game arena. We argue that the digital game uses various strategies to portray figures from different political parties in a way that subverts mainstream main-melody dramas and sheds light on sensitive historical movements. This implies the potential of Chinese digital games to become a counterpublic sphere, delivering alternative voices that challenge the mainstream media discourse and stimulate gamers’ political introspection.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMedia, Culture and Society
Volume44
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • Chinese digital game
  • counterpublic
  • main-melody
  • narrative analysis
  • interview

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